Dead StockYou wouldn’t want my life, trust me. On a typical day I spend my time trying to figure out three things that most guys in their early 20s already know: 1) how to stay out of trouble; 2) how to pay my bills; and 3) how to get a girlfriend. Every once in a while other problems come up that maybe aren’t so common, like how to not get killed.

Sometimes I think it’s because of my name. Shambles. Who can get ahead in life with a name like that? According to my mom it was originally Chambliss, but got mangled by some guard at Ellis Island back in the 1800s when my ancestors came over from France. I know I can legally change it, at least once my probation is over, but I don’t want to do that. If I did then my dad might not be able to find me. Not that he’s trying very hard. He left home when I was two and nobody has seen or heard from him since. But there’s that little part of me that wonders, what if I changed my name and then he tried to find me? At least this way, if he never contacts me, I know it wasn’t my fault.

When I’m not worrying about basic survival issues I like going down to my favorite bar, the Slosh ‘N Wash. They’ve got a row of washers and dryers along the back wall for doing laundry, and the most beautiful bartender who ever set foot on Long Island. Her name’s Ruby, and she’s originally from Texas. I have another friend at the bar, Oscar, who likes to read science fiction and play Yahtzee.

Most days I dream about getting off Long Island, and out into the world somewhere new and exciting. Working at a church thrift shop might sound like an awesome existence for some people, but I’ve always wanted something better for myself. Maybe I’ll figure out how to do that someday. Assuming I can live long enough, of course.

You can read more about Bert in Dead Stock, the first book in the “Bert Shambles” mystery series, published by Cozy Cat Press.

About the author
Dead Stock is Tim Hall’s first published mystery. Prior to signing with Cozy Cat Press in 2013, he had a long and colorful career as a journalist, musician, bike messenger and moving man. He lives in New York City.

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